The Hyderabad FC tactician wants his team to make a top-two finish.

East Bengal will take on Hyderabad FC in what is a must-win clash for the home team to keep their playoffs hopes alive. Meanwhile, Manolo Marquez’s side will look to get the three points and close the gap with table-toppers Mumbai City. 

Ahead of the game, Hyderabad FC head coach Manolo Marquez addressed the pre-match press conference. Here’s what he said.

Preparations for the game 

Manolo, on being quizzed about the build-up to the game said, “The players are feeling good and training good, and we play another style.”

He also acknowledged the fact that the home team are a dangerous team with very good offensive players. “I think it will be a very difficult game, even though they got better results away than at home,” he said. 

On the fighting spirit

Hyderabad FC continued their unbeaten run in the league, thanks to an 87th minute equalizer from Bartholomew Ogbeche against Chennaiyin FC. 

Manolo Marquez felt that even though the team is not in the best moment, he is happy they are getting results. He opined, “Even when we play bad, we are difficult to beat. We are an organised team and have players like (Javier) Siverio who can provoke a penalty, and gave us one important point (against Chennaiyin). We know we will play in the playoffs but we want to finish in the top two and we want to fight for that and if possible the shield’’. 

On East Bengal

Hyderabad FC and East Bengal have already met once this season and it was Hyderabad FC who ran out winners by a 2-0 scoreline. Manolo Marquez feels that it was not an easy victory. Elaborating on this point, he said, “Even though we won, the first half was a very equal game and finally a fantastic goal, thanks to Yasir, and then we scored a late goal to win it. I expect a difficult game and they also have the top-scorer (Cleiton Silva) in the ISL, so it will be a tough one,” he mentioned.

Plans for Cleiton Silva

The Brazilian has been in top form this season, and has been a shining light for East Bengal. With nine goals in 13 games, he has single-handedly sorted points for the Red & Golds. 

Talking about how Hyderabad FC can tackle his threat, Marquez explained “We cannot plan for such a clever player. He is not a typical centre-forward, he goes to the flanks sometimes or he appears in the centre-line and scores. He is also amazing in set-pieces, so it is difficult to plan just for Cleiton.”

 He also went on to add that East Bengal have other players who pose a threat too. “Both their wingers are dangerous and Alex Lima has a great football. They have a great defence too, so they have good players and they can beat anyone,” he said. 

Challenges for the last six games of the season

Going into the last six games, Hyderabad are right in the running for a top-two finish and also are challenging table-toppers Mumbai City for the shield. Speaking about the challenges and the road ahead, the Spaniard stated, “For every team, there are different challenges, and every team will try to fight for points and to qualify higher. Even Jamshedpur and NorthEast are playing well. So every team will have a challenge going ahead until the end of the season.”

On playing at the Salt Lake Stadium

Hyderabad FC have played twice already at the Salt Lake Stadium this season, losing to both Bengaluru FC ( Durand Cup) and ATK Mohun Bagan (Indian Super League). 

On being quizzed about the challenge for playing there, Manolo Marquez answered, “Yes we lost. But this is football. We are unbeaten for the past three years in Fatorda with four wins and four draws. I think this is a fantastic stadium. Against Bengaluru, we lost closely and it was still pre-season and against ATKMB, we lost to a good team. So, I prefer to play in this stadium and not in other stadiums.”

Manolo concluded by saying that the only negative he had is that he was surprised with the fanfare and expected more crowds in all stadiums around the country.  

For more updates, follow Khel Now on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube and join our community on Telegram.